Leading Peak – Peak Bagging

Leading Peak – Peak Bagging

Leading Peak is the super steep pinnacle of a summit on the north side of Anvil Island. This was my favourite peak bagging adventure of the year. The island is delightful and it is really cool to see the expansive views from the peak with new views of mountains we know well.

There are a few barriers to hiking in this area; You need to ask permission the the landowners and either book a water taxi or kayak over from Vancouver’s North Shore. This means you are unlikely to bump into many other walkers.

Leading Peak on Anvil Island Map

Alltrails map below. I also added my Strava recording here.

Leading Peak on Anvil Island the basics

Distance: 8.7 km on alltrails (although strava recorded 12.5km)
Cumulative Elevation gain: 1100m
Highest Point: 765m
Time: 5-6 hours
What to bring: The 10 Essentials
Facilities: Nothing.
Dogs: Dogs are allowed but there are some sections where you pull yourself up on ropes – would be tough for some dogs.
How hard is it? Pretty hard.
This was one of the first 1000m+ hikes I did in 2022, so I probably would have found it easier later in the year. It’s more challenging than you’d expect from the stats (under 9km and under 800m high.) At least it’s easy to follow.

Leading Peak – Getting started

Leading Peak is located on Anvil Island so part of the fun of this hike is getting there! I went with a group of Peak Baggers so we could share the cost of the water taxi. We went with Mercury Transport $67.5 per person. Another option is Cormorant water taxis.

Permission from the Bible Camp

The docks for Anvil Island and the start of the trail is on private land, owned by the Daybreak Point Bible Camp. You need to contact them before your adventure to get permission (a caretaker will meet you at the dock and ask you to sign a waiver before you go off on the hike.) There is an optional donation of $25 per group. The Bible Camp cabins looks like a fab place to stay. The guy that met us was really friendly and showed us the start of the trail.

Work out hike!

Once you leave the Bible Camp and start onto the main trail, it’s instantly steep!

These photos will give you an idea about what this trail is like – steep but gorgeous! There are moss-covered rocks, rooty paths and beautiful sun-filled forest views.

There is a mini detour at about 400m up the Leading Peak trail. It’s worth taking the trail to the right as the trees open out to fabulous views.

White Spot viewpoint

The White Spot is a viewpoint (it’s not the burger chain with a remote, mountain location!) There is a white cross on the mountain that you can see from the Bible Camp below. This views is looking out to Howe Sound; Horseshoe Bay is left and Gambier Island on the right.

Champside Lake

The trail gets slightly less steep beyond the White Spot viewpoint. Climb up a further 200m (in elevation) and you’ll reach the pond-like Champside Lake.

Leading Peak eep!

Soon after the lake, there is a great view of Leading Peak. I have to admit, it looks pretty impossible for mere hikers from here. It’s like a rocky, vertical spire of impossible-ness.

Right after the intimidating view, the trail climbs down for about 130m. So you hike downhill knowing that you’ll need to re-climb every step on the steep side of the island.

Impressive Rockwalls

Next you hike through a lush ravine, with impressive vertical cliffs towering above you. The trail goes past the steepest section and wiggles the way up the north side of Leading Peak.

The fun part

The trail gets super steep again as you hike up the rock-face around the back of Leading Peak. There are ropes on the hardest sections, so it is not as scary as it could be!

Fabulous viewpoint!

The trail opens out for a gorgeous viewpoint about 60m below the summit. You can see Mount Wrottesley and the remote mountains in the Tetrahedron Plateau (Sunshine Coast.)

From that viewpoint, you can quickly haul yourself up for these stunning views of Mount Ellesmere and north towards Squamish.

New view – North Shore Mountains

I loooved seeing this view of Vancouver’s North Shore Mountains (and the Sea to Sky highway!) The clouds hid the top of the summits, so I may have to come back on a clearer day.

Wait, what is Peak Bagging?

Peak Bagging is where hikers and climbers try to reach a collection of summits in one geographical area. Every summer people compete to see who can bag the most North Shore peaks. Last year I joined a facebook group of friendly peak baggers in Vancouver. I hiked up 14 peaks in 2022. But some of the lovely people I went with managed to bag all 82!

Whiskey Cache

If you search around the top of Leading Peak, you may find a Whiskey Cache. Normally the rules of whiskey caches are if you finish the bottle, you need to hike back up and replace it. However one of the lovely hikers, Ni, had seen that the whiskey was running low from a previous trip report, so we pitched in and bought a new bottle.

If you like the sound of this, I have trip reports about other peaks where we found Whiskey; I have trail reports for Mount Underhill, Devil’s Peak and West Knob.

Oodles of views

I was the slowest of all the peak baggers as I found the trail up to Leading Peak tougher than I expected BUT goodness it is so worth it for the views. This is the view west with Gambier Island (left) and the Sunshine Coast (right.)

Heading Back

You can either return the way you came up, or take the slightly easier nighthawk trail that has more switchbacks so is less hard on your knees. We booked the water taxi to pick us up after 6 hours. That was almost perfect (I had to run for the last section to make it back on time.)

Leading Peak Panoramas

The reward for this hike (in addition to the possibility of whiskey) are the 360° views from Anvil Island. I feel like I HAVE to share some of the panoramas I stitched together from this hike.

Anvil Island is quiet, ridiculously beautiful and a pleasant place to hike! I had not quite got my summer legs back when I did this hike, so I found it hard (and my legs ached for a couple of days afterwards…) But even with that disclaimer, this was one of my favourite Peak Bagging Adventures near Vancouver. I flipping loved Leading Peak.

23 thoughts on “Leading Peak – Peak Bagging

  1. Ok this is so cool that you have to take a boat to even get to this hike! And yes STEEP, but wow it’s gorgeous! Way to bag those peaks! 🙂

  2. I am a bit confused. Did you actually summit that awsome peak that you showed us early on in this? Wow, well done , if you did. Love, Lis

    1. Yep! It looks scary and impossible when you see it from the south, but the main trail goes around the back, so it *is* possible to hike/climb up! It’s not that bad at all once you’re on the trail.

      A couple of people in our group followed a scramble route, up the front of the rockface! I did not attempt that!!

  3. This is one going on my list for later next summer after I get in shape! Thanks for your honesty on the rewarding challenge and the tips on how to access the trail. The views are stellar and you had such a good day for the hike.

    1. Yeah, we really got lucky as it was in the springtime! Oooh maybe I can get you involved with peak bagging next year!? It is a great way to explore the North shore and visit less-well known peaks. 😀

  4. Such a fun adventure! I am torn about hikes with rope climbs. I love them because without we couldn’t do it, but it means it’s a hard hike am I right? Well done and thanks for teaching me about peak bagging and whiskey caches.

    1. Oooh I totally agree. I think this hike would still be doable without those ropes. It’s just it feels so much safer and less scary to have something to hold on to. Especially on the descent.

  5. What a random but really cool hike! I love that you have to get permission from the bible camp and the water taxi ride alone is beautiful. The whiskey at the top sounds like the perfect reward!

    1. Heh, you know I tried a sip of the old whiskey and the new whiskey…and found out I like the slightly more subdued taste of the whiskey that sat around on a peak for a year, rather than the new bottle. 😂

  6. ok sounds perfect! I can dig a hike where it isn’t likely I’ll bump into any other hikers! The boat taxi looks perfect! the trail perfect and of course the views! perfect! is it hard to get permission from the Bible Camp or do they normally just grant requests?

  7. EXCUSE ME but this is far to pretty! The woods! The lake! The mountains! THOSE VIEWS! Thank you for providing so many tips, gorgeous photos, and explaining what peak bagging is! The whiskey cache at the top is also a super cool idea

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